Pasaol reminds Pumaren of ‘joyous’ PBA great Meneses
High-scoring and fun-loving.
Those were some of words University of the East coach Derrick Pumaren used to describe his star scorer Alvin Pasaol.
And on the heels of his 49-point game and 81-point week, the veteran mentor couldn’t help but compare his 6-foot-3 swingman to a star he handled many moons ago.
“He is like Vergel,” said Pumaren, referring to Jose Rizal University coach Vergel Meneses. “Vergel he loves to have fun, but when it’s time to play, when it’s business, then he goes down to work. That’s his attitude, and that’s the same with Alvin.”
Pumaren had the privilege to coach Meneses in the pro league with the now-defunct Sunkist. They won two PBA championships and nearly a Grand Slam as the man they called “The Aerial Voyager” became the 1995 PBA Most Valuable Player.
Though their partnership was considerably short, what stood out the most for Pumaren was Meneses’ joyous attitude, which is also something that he sees in Pasaol.
“Alvin likes to joke and always laughs. When I talk and run plays, you could look at him and think that he’s not listening. Vergel is just like that too. But when we run it, he knows the plays,” he said.
Pumaren also said that Pasaol may look like laid back to some, but he commands respect from his fellow Red Warriors.
“He’s happy-go-lucky, but he’s the leader of the team. That is what I projected from him when I recruited him in Davao. I knew that he’s gonna be a star in the UAAP and he has shown it this season,” he said.
Meneses, though, was on the defensive when brought up the comparison, quipping, “I’m not that fat.”
But turning serious, the three-time PBA champion said that being “fun loving” is just the way he wanted the game to be played back in his heyday.
“There are type of players who seem like they just want to enjoy the game. That’s how I am. I just enjoy the game. If I’m not enjoying it, when I’m not smiling, I’ll do just 20 points. But when I enjoy the game, the opponents are dead,” the PBA great said.
Though Meneses admitted that he only saw part of Pasaol’s game, he could understand Pumaren’s analogy.
“He’s so relaxed but he’s gonna kill you. It’s almost the same to my game. What coach Derrick said was true. If he’s slimmer, he may be scoring 80 in a game,” he said.
“Of course, coach Derrick knows me. So for him to compare me, I can be a model for the boy. Whatever I’ve achieved when I was still playing, he could follow my footsteps and I become an inspiration for him.”
Amid the fanfare, Pumaren’s hopes that not only Pasaol sustains his hot streak, but also for the Red Warriors to make a late run to the Final Four in the second round.
“When you’re in a zone, you feel that everything is gonna go right for him. Hopefully, he’ll continue to have that follow up, but he has to maintain that level that it’s not over yet, that he’s not just a two-game sensation and then in the next seven games, he’ll be non-existent.”
Beyond UAAP Season 80, Pumaren has grander aspirations for his superb scorer.
“Hopefully, I can also produce another MVP in the PBA,” he said.
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